DUCK CHAT: Schmoozing with Julia Justiss

Thursday, May 21, 2009 10:00

Duck ChatWelcome back to Duck Chat!

Today we’re chatting with Harlequin Historical author Julia Justiss. Julia has a wonderful backlist full of historicals such as The Wedding Gamble, Wicked Wager, The Untamed Heiress, and A Most Unconventional Match. (She has some of the best covers out there, too!) Her current release is a novella in the One Candlelit Christmas (which I read and thoroughly enjoyed) that was out last December for the holiday season. 

Julia is married and lives in East Texas with her family. She’s had a very interesting life which includes a lot of traveling before her husband retired from the Navy. Once they did settle in Texas, she was able to put all her energies into writing full time. She has won numerous awards for her stories, including a Golden Heart for The Wedding Gamble.

When reading Julia’s interview, keep in mind she’s giving away a copy of One Candlelight Christmas, which also features stories by Terri Brisbin and Annie Burrows, so leave a meaningful comment or question to be in the running!  Now let’s chat with Julia!

Julia JustissDUCK CHAT: You have a new addition to your Wellington family series coming out in October of this year, From Waif to Gentleman’s Wife. First can you give us some background on the series and then tell our readers about the new book?

JULIA JUSTISS: It isn’t exactly a series, in that there was never a “planned” number of books to come out in sequence. Sarah Wellingford, heroine of my first book, The Wedding Gamble, came from a large family and I’d always envisioned doing the stories of her siblings and her husband Nicky’s two best friends. As it turned out, my second novel featured some totally unrelated characters. In my third, The Proper Wife, I returned to the Wellingfords with the story of Sarah’s childhood love Sinjin and her best friend Clarissa. A number of books featuring other heroines and heroes then intervened, until the appearance last July of my twelfth book, A Most Unconventional Match, which showcased Sarah’s younger sister Elizabeth and Hal Waterman, one of Nicky’s best friends. In November 2008 “Christmas Wedding Wish” appeared in the anthology One Candlelit Christmas, telling the story of the second eldest Wellingford sister, Meredyth. My next book, From Waif to Gentleman’s Wife, out in October 2009, tells the story of Sir Edward Austin Greaves, the second of Nicky’s best friends.

That takes care of Sarah and Nicky’s closest friends, but Sarah still has some unattached siblings, so there may be more Wellingford stories in the future.

DC: If you could retire any question and never, ever have it asked again, what would it be? Feel free to answer it.

JJ: I don’t know that there is one. Except maybe “where do you get your ideas.” The answer to that is “everywhere.” From stories I like that I’d like to see with a different twist. Stories I didn’t like that I’d like to end or progress differently. People I like. People I don’t like. Current news stories. Historical events or characters. Those intriguing little bits of historical trivia that just beg to be expanded into a full-length story.

Writers are like the Pig-Pen character in the old Peanuts cartoon strip, who went around always surrounded by this cloud of dirt. Except writers are always surrounded by this dusty cloud of Ideas.

DC: I’ve heard writers often say their stories take them in surprising directions, or dialogue flows from some unknown place. Is it the same with you? Do your characters surprise you sometimes?

Book Cover

JJ: I’m an outline writer rather an a “pantser” (as in “seat of your pants,” meaning the writer goes where the story takes her, without planning it in advance). It helps reduce the panic when I sit down at the keyboard if I have an idea of where I need to go next and because my day job leaves me with such limited writing time, I can’t afford to write a scene I later decide I don’t need. But even with fairly detailed planning, stories seldom follow the outline exactly.

Characters you think will be important may turn out not to be; events that you think will go in one direction may veer off in another. When the story is really flowing, the dialogue just “comes.” So there are always surprises!

DC: Do you ever argue with your characters while you’re writing? Who usually wins?

JJ: No arguments—because I listen to them. If they take the story in a direction that I hadn’t anticipated, I just follow.

DC: You have an interesting project with several other authors coming in 2010. Dubbed “The Silken Rope Scandals,” can let us know, first, how the idea for the project came about?

JJ: I’m enormously excited about this project, which represents several “firsts.” Although individual authors have created historical series, as far as I know, this is the first historical continuity by a North America publisher. As is usual in a continuity, the participating authors were invited by the editorial directors to take part in the project, but there was no editor-generated “bible” issued for the writers to follow. We were given complete freedom to develop the overall story arc, decide on the main characters, chose whose story we wanted to tell and devise its plot—subject, of course, to editorial approval. Fortunately, the editors loved our concept, accepted the outline of the overall arc and approved the individual story synposes (synopsi?) with very little alteration. Alas, our series working title, “The Silken Rope Scandals,” was ultimately retitled Regency Silk and Scandal.

DC: What is sure to distract you from sitting down and working/writing?

JJ: Like most writers, I have a hard time getting started. Sitting down is no problem; I’m always eager to check e-mail, visit the few blogs and review sites I follow and update the news on my website. What usually distracts me from moving on to the actual writing is research information, either tidbits posted on one of my historical author loops, on a blog, or in a website link. Historical writers are like magpies, always attracted to some shiny bit of obscure fact because who knows when it might be just the thing you need to flesh out a scene? So it must be read and then copied into the appropriate file.

Research will always distract me, which is why when I’m writing, I make up what I don’t know and only go back to check the facts after I’ve finished the book. If I stopped to check out background information as I wrote, I’d never get the book finished!

Book Cover

DC: How do you feel your male or female characters have evolved over your career? Do you think you write them differently now than you did when you started?

JJ: I don’t know that my “style” of character has changed. I’ve always written strong, independent women who see the hero as an equal, a complement to them, not as someone to support them or solve their problems or rescue them. I’ve written both alpha and beta heroes, but they always respect their women and are not threatened by a lady who can hold her own with a pen, a pistol, or a horse.

My stories are all character-driven, and I write about characters who interest me. The stories flow from them, not me—I just follow where they lead! However, I guess I could say that my characters now tend to be less the conventional Marriage Mart maiden or matron and more involved in less well-known locales and situations.

DC: Who are the other authors involved in “The Silken Rope Scandals”?

JJ: Louise Allen has the first and seventh books; Christine Merrill has the second and eighth; I have the third; Gayle Wilson the fourth (her first return to Regency historical after several years of writing contemp suspense, so I’m really excited about Book 4); Annie Burrows the fifth; and Margaret McPhee the sixth.

DC: Is there a genre you haven’t tackled but would like to try?

JJ: I’d like to do some contemps. My ideas range from the interesting-but-probably-not-marketable, like the crippled murder-mystery-solving bookstore owner heroine who teams up with the artificial-leg-ex-military hero who now runs a security firm. The possibly marketable romance set in East Texas where the big-city heroine inherits a ranch after the sudden death of her father, who bought the place at a tax sale as a retirement hobby—the ranch formerly belonging to the hero, who lost the land that had been in his family for generations after he was imprisoned for a crime he didn’t commit, who breaks out of jail to prove his innocence and get his land back. Then there’s the series I’d like to do on adventurous women, like the Navy fighter pilot; the rescue diver; the engineer-designer of the first practical laser handgun whose prototype gets stolen by the bad guys and she goes undercover to get it back, clashing with the government agent assigned to the case…

DC: LOL, well, after hearing that, I think you might make one of them work!  What advice would you give to your younger self?

JJ: Be more disciplined. Write faster. Get more books out.

DC: Your contribution to the project is titled The Smuggler and the Society Bride. Can you give us a smidge of a sneak peek, please?

JJ: The background of all the stories is a scandal in the father’s generation involving three friends and spymasters. One is having an affair with the wife of another; after angry words are exchanged, one man is found murdered, the friend with whom he’d quarreled supporting him, holding a bloody knife, by the third member of the team. Although the suspect insists he found his associate already stabbed and dying, he is tried, convicted of murder and hung—with a silken rope, as was the right of a peer of the realm. At the hanging, the murdered man’s gypsy mistress curses all those involved in her lover’s death. Someone in the children’s generation decides to implement the curse.

My heroine, Lady Honoria Carlow, is the daughter of the friend who let his best friend die on the scaffold despite his claims of innocence. She is set up to be ruined in such a way that she has no choice but to leave London. Angry at fate, life and the family that did not believe her, the victim of some diabolical scheme, she flees to a distant aunt in Cornwall. While mulling over her life—and trying to figure out who conspired to destroy her—she meets the intriguing captain of a local smuggling ship. Though he’s the last sort of man an earl’s daughter should find attractive, there’s something compelling about Gabriel Hawksworth—a man who has secrets of his own to conceal—that Honoria finds impossible to resist.

A Most Unconventional Match

DC: If you had never become an author, what do you think you would be doing right now?

JJ: I’ve always wanted to run an indie bookstore in a college town that had a coffee bar by day and wine bar by night, with student art on consignment hanging on the walls, a little stage for poetry readings, one-act plays, concerts, and other entertainments.

DC: What else is on the horizon for Julia Justiss?

JJ: I’ve just completed the rough draft for the Harlequin Historical e-book Undone program, an e-book only, sexier short stories format similar to the Spice Briefs that are marketed from the eHarlequin website. This story features secondary characters from my upcoming Wellingford book and will be out in September. I’ve got three more books under contract, the next of which should be the story of Caroline, an independent young woman who has serious and somewhat unusual reasons for avoiding wedlock, and Max, the unrepentant rake she proposes to have “compromise” her so she’ll be considered ruined and safe from matrimonial pursuit. Except that Max discovers he has a conscience after all and isn’t sure he can ruin and then abandon this very intriguing young lady.

However, there are several secondary characters from the October Wellingford book who are calling out for stories of their own, so Max and Caroline might not be next after all. I’ll see what my editor thinks after I turn in the final draft of the Undone.

A treat for those of you who have not read One Candlelit Christmas:

CHAPTER 1

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“Merry! Merry, they’re here! Come quickly!”
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From the dining room where she was supervising the footmen placing another leaf in the long table, Meredyth Wellingford heard her younger sister’s urgent voice summoning her to the entryway. “Coming, Faith” she called.
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A lilt in her step, Meredyth smiled as she walked to the front hall. How she loved the holidays! The scent of greenery adorning stairs and mantles mingling with the spicy tang of simmering wassail and the odor of roasting meat; mistletoe kissing balls and sharp-edged holly; carols sung around the hearth before the blazing Yule log. But especially, she loved having her family at home, the siblings gathered once again under Wellington’s roof as they had been for all their years growing up.
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The first to arrive should be her younger brother Colton returning from Oxford with his best friend Thomas Mansfell. Since Wellingford was on the way from university to his friend’s home farther north, Thomas was a frequent visitor, normally spending a few days with them each time the boys made their way to and from school.
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Just as Meredyth met her sister in the entry hall, they heard boots tromping up the front steps, followed by a sharp rap at the wide front door that Twilling, their old butler, hastened to throw open.
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“Faith! Merry!” Colton cried, sweeping them into a hug as they ran to greet him. “How good it is to be home!”
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“How good it is to have you,” Merry replied, an ache in her heart as she stepped back to inspect the youngest member of the Wellingford clan. With their mother having never really recovered after his birth, Meredyth and her older sister Sarah had tutored and cared for Colton all of his life before he left for school. In place of the smiling, eager boy she’d sent away to Eton now stood a young man taller than she was, his burnished brown locks highlighted with gold, his blue eyes glowing. Her little brother was becoming a handsome young man, Meredyth realized with a shock.
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“The hall certainly looks festive,” another masculine voice said, pulling her from her contemplation of Colton.
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“Thank you, Thomas, and welcome,” she said, turning her attention to her brother’s friend. “You are planning on staying for a few days before journeying home, I hope! I’ve had your usual room prepared.”
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“Oh, yes, do say you’ll be staying!” Faith interposed. “It is so agreeable to see you again.”
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“Good to see you too, brat,” Thomas replied, giving one of Faith’s gold curls a careless tug before turning back to Meredyth.
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“I should love to rest here for a few days before returning to the rigors of Christmas at the Grange. And I hope you don’t mind, but I took the liberty of telling my brother Allen that he could stay here as well. He arrived from London to join us on the trip north just as Colton and I were leaving Oxford.”
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“Of course he’s welcome,” Meredyth replied. “You’ve spoken of him so often, although we’ve never met, I feel I know him already.” Indeed, over the years Thomas had frequently recounted the exploits of the older brother he admired, his expertise at riding and fencing, his service as a dashing young subaltern carrying messages for Wellington during the Waterloo campaign, the expertise with which he’d taken over the management of the family estates.
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Thomas grinned “I’m glad! It would have been most embarrassing to have to send him on his way alone! He stopped to see about the horses—but here he is now.” He gestured to a tall, dark-haired gentleman whom Twilling was just admitting into the hallway.
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“Ladies, may I present my brother Allen? Allen, here are Merry and Faith Wellingford, two of Colton’s sisters.”
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“Miss Faith, Miss Wellingford, a pleasure!” the newcomer said, bowing over their hands in turn. Addressing Meredyth, he added, “I’ve heard so much about Wellingford from Thomas, I’m delighted to visit at last—if you are certain, as he insisted, that having an extra guest foisted upon you without notice won’t be an inconvenience.”
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As the gentleman straightened, Meredyth barely suppressed a gasp. Unlike her fledgling brother, Allen Mansfell was a man already fully mature—and a strikingly handsome one. Though Meredyth was tall for a lady, the visitor towered over her. Sable brown locks brushed the forehead of his square-jawed, slightly smiling face, while eyes of an arresting green captured her gaze, making her feel for an instant as if the two of them were the only occupants of the hall.
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A bit disconcerted, she dropped her eyes, letting her appreciative gaze travel from his broad shoulders down a trim torso to muscled thighs well-displayed by his chamois riding breeches. When, cheeks pinking, she forced her eyes back up to his, a tingle of attraction sizzled through her, stronger than anything she’d felt since the death of her fiancé James a heartbreak ago.
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Shaking her head, she tried to re-gather her wits. “If you’ve listened to what Thomas says about me, I’m surprised you dared venture to the house.”
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He laughed, that disturbing, shiver-inducing stare still fixed on her. “I assure you, everything he recounted was most complimentary.”
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“I hope you left us some decorating to do,” Colton said, glancing around the garland-hung hallway. “After being cooped up with musty old books for a term, Thomas and I are keen to ride about the countryside.”
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“Faith and I began with the entryway, but haven’t progressed much further. We shall have need of you gentleman to fetch in more pine, holly and mistletoe. I thought we’d leave some of the gathering until Sarah, Elizabeth and Clare arrive with their clans. Riding out with you should amuse the children.”
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Colton grinned at her. “That’s Merry, already managing everyone and half the group aren’t even here yet.”
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“She is an excellent manager,” Thomas pointed out. “Viewing Wellingford now, Allen, you cannot imagine what it looked like when I first visited here! The manor in disrepair, cottages falling into ruin, fields lying fallow. Merry’s done a wonderful job of refurbishing the house and farms and seeing the land brought back under cultivation.”
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Were Thomas not almost as close to her as a sibling, Meredyth might have been embarrassed by his bald description of the sorry condition of Wellingford at the time of their father’s death. As it was, knowing that via Thomas his brother Allen would be fully aware of how badly their gamester father had neglected Colton’s inheritance, she felt no need to explain or apologize. “Time, a competent estate agent and an influx of funds can accomplish a great deal,” she replied.
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“Having wrestled with the upkeep of Papa’s properties, Miss Wellingford, I am well aware that it takes much more than those to keep a property in good heart,” Allan said. “The land and farms we rode through looked exemplary and this house is lovely. Your hard work is quite evident.”
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“Oh, indeed!” Colton interposed. “Merry is so excellent a manager, I believe I shall keep her on when I marry and return to Wellingford for good.”
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“I doubt your bride would care for such an arrangement,” Meredyth replied tartly, feeling her face heat. With the blunt insensitivity of a young man, she knew Colton didn’t realize he’d just branded her as his spinster sister, well and truly on the shelf. Which, of course, she was, but ‘twas not a fact she appreciated his pointing out in front of the very attractive Mr. Mansfell.
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Though some eight years senior to the seventeen-year-old Thomas, Allen Mansfell must still be at least two years younger than she. Her discomfort intensified by that lowering thought, Meredyth told herself sternly that she must get over the unseemly sensual response he’d sparked in her.
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Noting from her expression that her sister was piqued at being left out of the conversation—and conscious of a sudden need to escape Allen Mansfell’s too-compelling presence, Meredyth said, “Faith, why don’t you take our guests into the front parlor? I’ll have Twilling bring in some spiced wine while I see about preparing your rooms.”
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Turning to Mr. Mansfell, she added, “I’ll have your chamber ready shortly. If there is anything I can do to make your stay at Wellingford more comfortable, please don’t hesitate to ask.”
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To her surprise, Allen took her hand and bowed over it. “I’m sure you will make me comfortable indeed,” he murmured, the warmth of his voice and the heat of his gloved hand sending another little shock through her.
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Hastily withdrawing her tingling fingers, Meredyth curtseyed and turned away, acutely conscious of his gaze upon her back as she ascended the stairs.
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Escaping from his view down the hallway, Meredyth proceeded to the guest wing to inspect the room she meant to assign Allen, needing to determine if anything more than fresh linens would be needed. As her gaze lingered on the large high bed, she recalled Mr. Mansfell’s velvet-voiced remark about how comfortable she would make him. A surprisingly intense flush of heat suffused her body.
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She was being ridiculous, attributing to his idle remark an innuendo a gentleman would never direct toward a gently-born spinster. ‘Twas bad enough she’d blushed like a schoolgirl under his gaze. She’d best get hold of herself around him before she did something that alerted him to the effect he had upon her. The thought of him realizing it and reacting with distaste-or even worse, pity–was too humiliating to contemplate.
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Fortunately, he would only be at Wellingford for a few days. With the rest of the family arriving any time now, she’d be too busy overseeing meals, lodging and entertainment for her sisters, their spouses and children to reflect on the mesmerizing effect of a pair of vivid green eyes or the quivering in her belly produced by a handsome face and a virile physique.
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It wasn’t as if she’d encountered no attractive men in the years since her engagement ended. What was it about Allen Mansfell that sparked her body to a sensual awareness she’d thought submerged for good after James’s death?
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The dull ache that had replaced the first searing pain of losing her fiancé throbbed in her chest. Swallowing hard, she drifted to the window, staring sightlessly down at the winter garden as the memories overtook her.
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How in love they’d been! How vividly she recalled the excitement of kissing him, the way she’d felt as if she were melting from the inside out when his tongue caressed hers and his strong hands fondled her breasts. Not for the first time, she regretted the sense of honor and responsibility that had made them curtail those thrilling explorations short of complete fulfillment.
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They’d have all the time in the world to enjoy each other when he returned from his posting in India, James had promised as he gently pushed her away. Drawing a finger over her kiss-swollen lips, he’d pledged to pleasure every inch of her once she was his bride, when they need no longer fear that their joining might create a child.
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That last night before he left she’d been tempted, oh so tempted, to draw him back into her embrace, rub her breasts against his chest, fit her body around the hardness in his breeches and coax his lips open, touching and teasing until his control broke and he took her then and there down the path to ecstasy. Only the knowledge that conceiving his child would mean disaster had stopped her.
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Faced now with the probability that she’d never bear a child of her own, she wasn’t so sure she’d made the right choice.
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It wasn’t that she’d set her face against marriage. Of course, for the first year or so after losing James she’d not thought it possible she would ever wish to wed anyone else, but time had worn away that certainty as it had muted her grief. In the intervening years, the necessity of remaining at Wellingford to tend her dying mother, followed by a succession of other needs and duties, had kept her here, far from the ballrooms of London where she might have found another love.
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Not that it was completely impossible she might yet marry. She’d go to London with Faith in the spring, accompany her little sister to all the events of the Marriage Mart. But by now almost ten years older than her sister and the other girls making their bows, she would likely be consigned to wearing caps and sitting with the dowagers.
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Besides, unlike many of the maidens soon to join Faith in the drawing rooms of society, Meredyth cherished no dreams of wedding for wealth or title. She’d already sidestepped the rich neighbor who’d come wooing, wishing to join her dowry lands with his. Gently rebuffed an old family friend, a widowed viscount looking for a new mama for his clan. Possessed of a valued place among her family, a budding brood of nieces and nephews to spoil, land and a dower house in which to live once Colton brought home a bride to be the new mistress of Wellingford, she would not turn her heart, her worldly possessions and her future over to a husband in exchange for anything less than a love as powerful as that she’d felt for James.
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Turning to give the bed one last lingering glance, Meredyth sighed and walked back out. Despite Allen Mansfell’s ability to make her senses zing, demonstrating that passion burned within her still, for a lady as long in the tooth as Meredyth Wellingford, finding true love again would take a miracle.
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Savoring a glass of spiced wine in the parlor below, Allen Mansfell propped an elbow against the mantle and looked on indulgently as Miss Faith Wellingford tried—with no success—to flirt with his brother Thomas, who alternately teased and ignored her while discussing with Colton a proposed hunting expedition for the morrow.
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A pretty enough child, Miss Faith resembled her older sister Elizabeth, said to be beauty of family, who’d recently married his friend Hal Waterman. With her lovely face and artless charm, Miss Faith would probably have little problem finding a suitable husband next spring when, as she earnestly informed him, she’d be making her debut.
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At the thought, Allen suppressed a quiver of distaste. Next spring would probably find him back in London as well. Though after Susanna’s faithlessness, part of him recoiled at the thought of ever offering his hand and name to another lady, once his initial hurt and fury abated, he knew the reason he’d first sought her out—a desire to marry, settle down on his estate and delight his mama by providing her with grandchildren–would propel him back to Marriage Mart again. Not that he had any intention this time of risking his heart.
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Unfortunately, the London season provided the most convenient and comprehensive gathering of maidens of suitable breeding and lineage from which a gentleman might find a wife. Though ‘twas ludicrous to think of choosing an infant like Faith.
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It was Susanna’s confident self-assurance that had first caught his interest last spring. Unlike most of the other maidens, she was able to converse intelligently—and flirt alluringly–instead of falling into giggles or blushing at every word he uttered. To say nothing of the blatant promise of her lush body…
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Angrily he thrust away the memories. He’d raged and mourned long enough. He would not allow her perfidy to cast a damper over his spirits any longer.
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If he were compelled to wade into waters of Marriage Mart once again, he thought, Miss Faith’s sister Meredyth was much more to his taste. Tall, slender, her hair a paler blonde that the gold of her little sister’s, her eyes gray-blue rather than cerulean, she carried herself with a graceful elegance. Then there’d been that surprising spark of awareness accompanied by a jolt of warmth that fairly burned through his gloves when he’d foolishly uttered that naughty remark about how comfortable she could make him. Elegance and—unlike Susanna—integrity in one subtlety sensuous body made for quite an arresting combination.
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Nor had he been mouthing empty phrases when he’d complimented her on the management of Wellingford. He’d been genuinely impressed by the well-tended fields, fences and cottages past which they’d ridden, their excellent condition all the more impressive considering in what a shambles the entire estate had been just a few years ago.
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Randolph Wellingford’s profligate habits, addiction to gaming and shocking neglect of his estate had been quite the on-dit when Allen first left Oxford for London. Indeed, many at his club had murmured ‘twas a blessing for the family when the man met an early death, riding out half-foxed one cold winter morning in an attempt to win some ridiculous wager. Meredyth Wellingford must be intelligent, diligent and a thrifty manager to have accomplished so much at Wellingford.
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The thought struck him then, as appealing as it was sudden. If he must marry—and marry he must–why not choose a more mature lady, one he knew by reputation to possess a sterling character and by personal observation to already have the skills necessary to be mistress of a large estate? An older lady who might be as amenable as he to a marriage based on similar tastes and mutual respect. A lady whose subtle attractiveness promised satisfaction of his appetites without the torment of lust and jealousy Susanna had roused in him.
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A lady who just happened to be planning to accompany her little sister to London for the upcoming Season.
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Allen swallowed the last of his wine and set down his glass, smiling. He’d use this few day’s sojourn at Wellingford to become better acquainted with his charming hostess. And if he continued to be as impressed—and titillated—by Meredyth Wellingford as he’d been upon their first meeting, he might just have found the answer to his marriage dilemma.

Lightning Round:

- dark or milk chocolate?   – Dark
- smooth or chunky peanut butter?    – Chunky
- heels or flats?    – Really high FMP for going out; flats and barefoot for home
- coffee or tea?    – Coffee
- summer or winter?    -  Cool not cold; don’t like heat (and I live in Texas—how smart is that?)
- mountains or beach?    – Both. Love walking by the water (not laying out tho) Love mountain trails and woodland streams.
- mustard or mayonnaise?   – Mayo
- flowers or candy?    – Flowers
- pockets or purse?     -  Pockets; not big on bags but oh, get me some SHOES!
- Pepsi or Coke?    – Coke
- ebook or print?    — Print. My eyes bother me after reading on a screen for awhile.

And because we’ve had fun with them so far:

1. What is your favorite word?   – faith
2. What is your least favorite word?     – Camaraderie, because I can never, ever spell it right
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?    – Calm serenity in my personal life
4. What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?    – Anxiety, esp about family or my kids
5. What sound or noise do you love?   – Flowing water: fountain, waves on a beach, etc.
6. What sound or noise do you hate?    – “background noise” tv or music
7. What is your favorite curse word?    -  Damn—it’s mild enough to use liberally
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?   – Fighter pilot; I love to fly but I get motion sickness.
9. What profession would you not like to do?    – **Anything** that deals with numbers
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? – “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

DC: Thank you so much, Julie, for being with us today!

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